Giglio, Assembly Minority to Investigate Misappropriation of Funds
Allegations Arise that State Budget Secretly Redirected Money from Snowmobile Fund to Pay for Other Services
April 16, 2008
Assemblyman Joe Giglio (R,I,C–Gowanda) today called for an investigation into the state budget’s alleged reappropriation of an estimated $1 million from the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund. Financed from the increased snowmobile registration fee, the fund supports the state’s 10,000 miles of public snowmobile trails, snowmobile safety education and enforcement of the state’s snowmobile laws. "Snowmobilers were forced to pay higher registration fees under the pretense that the money would be used to maintain and develop trails," said Giglio. "Now, to take that revenue away from snowmobilers is simply unacceptable. Snowmobiling provides a boost to our tourism industry, and has a strong economic impact on our rural areas during the winter months. They deserve honesty from government." Under an apparent budgetary provision, the state, at the end of a fiscal cycle, may reappropriate any remaining money from funds, such as the Snowmobile Trail Development and Maintenance Fund, into a general appropriation. The initial findings of the investigation appear to indicate that this was the case with the estimated $1 million remaining in the snowmobile fund. "In recent years, we have passed reforms to instill transparency and accountability in the budget process," said Giglio. "Unfortunately, there is more work to do. It is vital that elected officials are alerted before the 11th hour, of not only the fiscal impact of each appropriation, but also a clear understanding of where the financing will come from. I can assure the residents of my district that I will demand answers and fight for real budgetary reform that will prevent these types of misappropriation from happening again."